and Finnola had been joined 6 moons earlier and now her belly swelled
with a new life. As Finnola cradled her wiggling belly, Niall stoked
the flames in the hearth against the encroaching cold and advancing
was concerned. He had been watching the sun closely, not only was it
not awake as long as it had been since their joining, it had moved
slowly downward in the sky, His concern was that this time, it would
dissappear for good. This had happened every year, but this year the
cold was very bitter and the threat of the sun dying was more real.
gazed at Finnola and the affection she glowed with toward their unborn
child as she muttered lullabyes when a harsh picture of them all frozen
solid in the dark flashed horridly across his fears.
rose and bundled himself in furs and strapped them tightly around him.
"I need to speak to the Wise One, I will return shortly."
nodded and asked him to be careful as she stirred the stew brewing over
the fire, bracing herself against the blast of cold air as he opened
village was small, only twenty or so huts gathered together closely,
the Wise one's hut in the center was easy to find in the cold dark.
Niall knocked on the door.
"Enter!" replied a strong voice.
Niall entered quickly to keep as much warmth as there was, inside.
"Bless all in this house" Niall offered.
all its roof shelters!" replied a graying woman wrapped in shawls
sitting by her fire, "Come, sit! What brings you to my fire Niall?"
One, this winter has been so long, the cold so bitter, I watch my child
grow in Finnola's belly, and wonder if I shall see his face.... Will
the Sun return this time?"
The wise one stared into the flames. After a time she looked into Nialls eyes.
She asked him, "What reason does the Sun have to return?"
Niall was stunned. He could only think of reasons why HE would want the Sun to return, but no reasons the Sun would.
"What can I do?" he asked with trepidation knowing that in dealing with gods, a sacrifice is usually asked in return for favors.
"Summon the other villagers into the main hall tomorrow and we will see what we can do."
The next day the Sun came up even later, Niall watched it rise low in the southern sky with a grim look on his face.
had gone from hut to hut on his way home the night before announcing
the Wise One's summon and they all had gathered in the Main Hall
awaiting the Wise One.
She arrived garbed in her official robes, and spoke in a abnormally strong voice.
"Beloved Children! I have heard your fears and dread. I have consulted the Divine Ones and asked their council.
LIFE is the spark of the Divine and celebration of life fuels it's strength.
Fear and foreboding are the waters that extinguish the strength on LIFE.
we will gather our strength and love of life together it ignite a fire
of life and love so mighty the Sun will be drawn to it as a moth to a
flame and return to us with it's warm and life giving light once again!
now to your homes and look closely at all the things you have that
would be lost if the Sun does NOT return. Bring whatever gift you can
offer to the Sun to catch his attention. Bring any herbs or symbols of
everlasting life! Bring food and wine and wear your best garments!
Bring candles and wood to burn throughout the night!
Do all these things that this night will end the long cold nights, and bring the Sun back to us!"
The villagers hurried to prepare for that night's feast making.
and Torloch, Giolla and Maol brought a large log, the length a man is
tall and it's girth equal to 3 grown men to the main Halls hearth.
Wise One annointed it with her most exotic and costly oils, the women
of the village adorned it with precious baubles, and spices tied in
bundles with bright colored strings and ribbons.
The children brought pinecones and evergreen boughs and kindling aplenty. All things the Wise One attached to the lhuge log.
The maidens of the village cooked, stewed, baked, washed, braided, and primped.
In the hustle and the bustle the gloom and doom of the previous days dissipated like smoke on a windy day.
before the Sun sank below the horizon, everyone gathered outside the
Main Hall,and everything was prepared for there entry inside.
Wise One stood outside between the crowd and the Sun and raised her
arms in salute and called out, "Great Lord, Giver of Life, We have not
forgotten the nor shall we ever, Tonight a remnant of your mighty Self
will burn here fueled by our hopes and wishes for your return until you
come to us once more! May the magick of Love, the gift of the Mother bring you back to us!"
the last twinkling of the sun rimmed the edge of the mountain, she
seemed to touch it with her torch and it burst into flame. Carrying her flaming torch before her she entered the Main Hall and all followed her.
before the crowd at the Hearth, she commanded them, "Clear your minds
and hearts from doubt! Focus your love on those with you and rejoice in
their being! Look at all the work you have done
together to bring this gathering into being and compare it to how you
were all separated and frightened only one day ago! See
the magick we have wrought from Life and Love and concentrate all your
best and strongest hopes together and transfer it to this magnificent
gift we have made for the Sun! To send all that strength to Him we will all lay hands upon it and bless it now"
family in turn approached the Log that had been adorned so beautifully
and with each touching, it pulsed even more intensely with a magickal
energy until it was fairly sparking and crackling before the Wise one
came near it with her Torch.
raised the torch high above her head and called out to the heavens,
"Return to us and receive this gift of love we offer you Lord, and
Bless us, we pray with the gift of your Light, Warmth, Presence, and
Gift of Life!!!!"
lowered the torch to the log and it burst into flame with sparks rising
through the smoke hole like stars toward the gods, each carrying the
love of each villager to the Sun.
The Wise one then set about to lighting all the candles with the torch that head benn lit by the last rays of the setting sun.
villagers all set about feasting and spent the night together in
fellowship , telling tales of good memories and making sure each knew
how much they were cherished by the other.
night was long in hours, but seemed shorter than the dark times they
had spent huddled in fear. The warmth of the Log and the company
created a atmosphere of such good will, the scents of the food and
spices and perfumes and wine all mixed together in harmony and bliss.
It truly was a magickal gift, this gift of Love.
eyes were tired and bellies full, children napped and noise abated,
Niall ventured to go outside to answer the call of nature, and when he
did, he was surprized to see the dawn was breaking!
"Everyone!!! Come!!! Look!!"
villagers roused from their encroaching slumber and rushed to the door.
Indeed, the Sun was breaking over the eastern horizon a little earlier
than it had the day before! The whole village cheered!!
Log was nearly spent, and the wise one drew a remnant of it aside. She
knew the amazing magick this Log had embodied, and thought it best to
keep a bit of it for future use as the wheel of the year turned this
The village rejoiced each day for 12 days as the sun indeed rose ealier and set later and the days grew longer.
year after that, A Wise One would begin the fire of the Yule Log with
the remnants of the last Yule log, keeping the magick of that first one
flowing through it in addition to the new love and magick added each
year by all the villagers, including Niall and Finnola's son, and grand
children and great grandchildren, and each year, although the Sun
continued to return, they never took for granted that it would.